Author and self-publishing consultant Ben Galley has attended BristolCon for last few years but this year he vlogged the experience for his YouTube channel. The video features chats with some of the other authors and guests in attendance at the con as well as a look at some panel events, the dealers room and our very fetching bar area. So whether you want to re-live a great day or you’ve wondered what BristolCon is like then get a sneak peek through Ben’s experience!
First and foremost I would like to give my thanks to our outgoing Chairman and other stalwarts of BristolCon who are moving on. Of course, we hope they join us in the future when their schedules permit.
Over the eight years that BristolCon has run, I feel the convention has gained in strength. Many of the original features have grown to become traditional and some newer traditions have evolved over the years – CAKE!
I am delighted that so many of our attendees have expressed their enjoyment not just with the panels and organised events but with the pleasure of meeting up with friends and making new ones who share a love of SF&F. It is testament to the success of the con that so many people return year on year and that they bring new people along.
As I move into the chair I am resolved to keep all of the elements that have made BristolCon successful and to help them grow. We will continue to invite formidable guests; to provide panel discussions on many diverse subjects; and to improve the experience for guests, attendees and volunteers alike.
I am immensely proud of the activities and dedication of so many individuals in providing the art show, the dealers room, the technical setup, and a huge
amount of cake. These will again feature in 2017. Behind the scenes, we have organisers of membership, volunteers, websites and comms, and someone to
keep an eye on the pennies. Let us not forget the contribution paid by the Doubletree Hilton staff whose helpful and friendly attitude continue to make this an enjoyable venue.
I thank you all for your enthusiastic support and am greatly looking forward to working with the old team and new volunteers. It is in no small part your involvement and enthusiasm that makes the convention a success.
Thank you all for another wonderful BristolCon. This has been our eighth year, and it remains one of the most enjoyable and friendly conventions on the circuit. I hope you all had as good a time as I did!
Much gratitude needs to be extended to everyone involved – our three incomparable Guests of Honour were Ken MacLeod, Sarah Pinborough and Fangorn, whose thoughts on AI, monster poo and dirty jokes were some of the (many) highlights of our day. Thanks are also due to everyone who appeared on panels, workshops and in the art room, the tireless committee who helped hold it all together, our hard-working minions, the people who brought cake, our tech team who all dressed up for the occasion, and everybody who attended – you’re all awesome and we wouldn’t have a con without you.
As you might know if you were at the closing ceremony this year, I’m standing down as the Chair of BristolCon after eight wonderful years. At times they have been exhausting and frustrating, but it’s always been fun and I know I will miss it now I’ve gone. Also standing down are Minion King Ade Couper, and Head of Media and Publications Roz Clarke, so it really is all change at Castle Bristolcon.
For now I’ll leave you in the very capable hands of our Vice-Chair and indefatigable Head of Programming, MEG, who I’m sure has a few words for you.
I’ll see you all next year!
Our 8th BristolCon took place on Halloween weekend, and was as friendly, entertaining and inspiring as ever. Despite losing a lot of our members to dread diseases of one form or another (at least three kinds of flu seem to be going around), the con had a great buzz, the panels were stimulating, the dealer’s room was temptatious and the art show delectable. Also delicious were the many cakes – we’re in no danger of losing that #bristolcake hashtag any time soon.
Our Guests of Honour were marvellous; Sarah Pinborough was filthy, sharp and hilarious. She did a superb interview with Gareth L. Powell, who very kindly stood in for Ed Cox, one of many members struck down by eleventh-hour illnesses. Fangorn gave an engaging presentation, and managed to keep his audience on-side despite dissing the generally popular Force Awakens. Ken MacLeod was gracious and charming; one of those heroes you fear meeting but who turns out to be just as lovely as you could have imagined, and he was expertly interviewed by Jaine Fenn.
Fangorn, Sarah and Ken, image courtesy of Cheryl Morgan
Our feature book launch this year was of course, Amunet by Rob Harkess, and his publishers, Grimbold Books, did him proud, with the help of our inimitable tech team and a legion of cake-bakers. The steampunk theme permeated the convention, but our winning costume was a fabulous young Rey, complicated hairstyle and all.
This year’s con came at a time of upheaval for several members of the con committee. We waved goodbye to Ade Couper, Minion King Extraordinaire, Roz Clarke (that’s me!) and Joanne Hall, Chair. Jo attains the honourary position of Unahzaal Vahlok Morokei se BristolCon (which, in Dovahzul, means ‘Eternal Glorious Overlord’. She’s a Skyrim fan. We’re a bunch of geeks.)
We have no doubt, however, that the convention will continue to go from strength to strength.
I’d like to give a blow-by-blow account of the day and namecheck EVERYONE who attended, because every member is an essential part of the con. There are, of course, too many of you, and far too much to cover in one blog post. Participants, minions, staff, cosplayers and lego-builders; you were all fabulous. Below are links to some of the blog posts other people have written about the day. Taken all together, they start to give flavour of the day, but nothing beats being there. If you’re one of those who missed it because you had stuff coming out of unmentionable orifices, or because you were moving house, or life intervened in some other way, so sorry..! We missed you all. Here’s hoping to see you next year.
October 22nd, 2016< by Roz --> · Comments Off on Change to the Friday Night Schedule
In a change to our previously published schedule, the workshop ‘How (Not) to Give a Good Reading’ running before the Open Mic even on Friday 28th will start at 18:45. There will be a short presentation from David Gullen and Gaie Sebold followed by a Q&A and then a short break before the Open Mic.
If you’d like a more hands-on opportunity to practice your reading skills, Frances Kay is offering 15 minute sessions of 1:1 coaching on reading aloud, in the Snug on Saturday between 1 and 2 – head over to the Snug programme page for details on how to sign up.
If you have yet to buy your BristolCon Membership, I have to forewarn you that advance memberships will be closing at NOON on THURSDAY OCTOBER 27th 2016. If you want to save yourself a fiver pop over to the Membership page and get a membership before the cut-off!
Memberships will be available on the door for £30. Doors open at 9am.
Also, if you come to this year’s con you can sign up on the day for next year at the bargain price of £15 – just ask at the committee desk.
October 9th, 2016< by Roz --> · Comments Off on Amunet Launches at BristolCon
BristolCon’s feature booklaunch event in 2016 will feature as much tea and cake as usual, but this time with good reason. This year we’re hosting the launch of Robert’s Harkess’ Amunet, a gritty blend of urban fantasy and steampunk.
Amunet has a unique talent; she can talk to the dead. She has been told all her life that this is the key to rescuing her mother, who has been taken by mysterious and powerful forces. To unlock her mother’s prison, all she has to do is find the Locksmith. Posing as a medium, she scours Europe for the one person who can help her. Harry and his father are investigators, employed by the Church to
hunt down mediums and hand them over to the mercies of the Inquisition. Harry has always believed he, and the Church, were doing the right thing. Until now. Refusing to believe the Church claim that Amunet is evil, Harry risks his own life, and his relationship with his father, to free her from under the eyes of the Church. As Harry loses his heart to Amunet, she guides him on a journey to prevent a terrible evil being set loose in the world.
Amunet is available from good booksellers and convenient booksellers alike, and will of course be on sale at the convention.
September 30th, 2016< by Roz --> · Comments Off on BristolCon 2016 Progress Report 3a
Two posts in one day is not great social media management, but I couldn’t wait to share the news that the programme is now fully up on the site, with links to the participant’s bios. It’s split by room, with the Friday night Fringe events, the Art Show presentations and the Games schedule under Other Programming.
Signups are open for the Small Group Sessions, and we have a delicious looking crop of them this year. Can’t wait!
September 30th, 2016< by Roz --> · Comments Off on BristolCon Does Do Costume
…we said we would never, never, but the eagle-eyed among you may already have noticed the discreet mention of CosPlay on the Entertainment page and in my June Progress Report.
Since Halloween is upon us, Bristolcon is holding a costume competition. Costumes can be spooky, spiffy (steampunk is on topic for the con this year!) or surprising – or perhaps all three? We’ll be putting competition tokens in goody bags for members to hand to the people who’s costumes please them the most, and the winner will be announced at the Closing Ceremony. There’ll be a small prize.
So, consider this a timely reminder to get your thinking caps on and your Goblin Hats ready. Dazzle us on the day!
September 30th, 2016< by Jo --> · Comments Off on Alastair Reynolds Signing At Forbidden Planet Bristol – Thursday October 6th
Heads up, Bristol people! Former Bristolcon Guest of Honour Alastair Reynolds will be signing copies of his latest SF space pirate adventure novel, Revenger, at Forbidden Planet in Bristol at 6pm on Thursday 6th October 2016 – be there if you can!
The galaxy has seen great empires rise and fall. Planets have shattered and been remade. Amongst the ruins of alien civilisations, building our own from the rubble, humanity still thrives.
And there are vast fortunes to be made, if you know where to find them . . .
Captain Rackamore and his crew do. It’s their business to find the tiny, enigmatic worlds which have been hidden away, booby-trapped, surrounded with layers of protection – and to crack them open for the ancient relics and barely-remembered technologies inside. But while they ply their risky trade with integrity, not everyone is so scrupulous.
Adrana and Fura Ness are the newest members of Rackamore’s crew, signed on to save their family from bankruptcy. Only Rackamore has enemies, and there might be more waiting for them in space than adventure and fortune: the fabled and feared Bosa Sennen in particular.
Revenger is a science fiction adventure story set in the rubble of our solar system in the dark, distant future – a tale of space pirates, buried treasure and phantom weapons, of unspeakable hazards and single-minded heroism . . . and of vengeance . . .
This sounds awesome – can’t wait to get my hands on it!